Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Can meat be grown in cell culture labs? This article discusses the future of genetically modified food, and whether products like chicken, beef and pork can be modified so that they are healthier to eat (imagine beef GM'ed to contain less cholesterol). The article discusses taking this idea one step further and scientists growing "meat like slurry" (Yum!) in lab like facilities instead of slaughtering animals to produce the meat, possibly so that meat producers can crack into the Vegetarian market. So what do you think? Will "meat slurry" be a future food staple? My guess is GM food producers such as AquaBounty are going to have to put some major marketing muscle behind the idea to sell it to consumers...that or at least think of a new name. [Article]
Meet Robert Buelteman, a guy who uses fiber optics, high voltage, and a scalpel to make incredible images that otherwise couldn't be captured on camera. His images are absolutely stunning and really vibrant, and he is incredibly meticulous about the procedure used to produce these images. Maybe more artists will start using electricity or other chemical processes to try to mimic his work. So tell me, is this guy an artist or a mad scientist? [Article]
Monday, June 29, 2009
This article on ScienceDaily talks about the future of drug delivery, and apparently nanotechnology has the potential to replace traditional pharmaceuticals...well at least hopefully one day. Although the technology is still in its infancy, scientists have been able to engineer lipid containers the size of a virus that can be used to deliver the drug into the bloodstream, and proteins called selectins can help the lipid containers target specific cell types in the body. Nanotechnology has been getting a lot of attention recently (especially in Biological applications), so much so that major universities such as UCSB have recently built entire buildings devoted to this niche field. Even the government has hopped on board with a lot of funding for Nanotech initiatives and a website. Check out the article for more info. [Link]
So you want to take your science geek-dom mobile to impress your friends, or, more likely, keep them away? No problem iPhone users, because Wired has an article on the top 22 Science Apps for your iPhone. Anything from Prescription drug doses to Constellation Maps, the iPhone has an app for it. the coolest? Definetly the Genetic Decoder. Check the full article here. [Link]
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Heres an article that is pretty inspirational. Guy come from India, gets his PhD, works as a chemist for 6 years while scrimping and saving everything he has, and decides on a whim one day that hell crack open a phone book to buy a 3 person chemical company so that he can build the company up. That 3 person company is now Chemair, a Chemical manafacturing company that employs 350 people. Oh and about the title, the guys from India, its a sort of rags to riches tale, so I tried forever to come up with a clever title. This is all I could come up with. You know...like the movie? Ok, forget it, just check out the Article. [Article]
Saturday, June 27, 2009
So what do you use in your cell culture lab? Do you handle your cell lines manually or do you use a bioreactor? Can you afford the additional costs that come with a bioreactor? Do you grow enough cell lines to justify the additional cost? This article attempts to answer that question, with links to many Bio reactor vendors. Personally, our lab is so tiny that I find it hard to justify the costs associated with a bioreactor (rarely do we grow more than 1 Liter of cells + media at a time), but maybe its time for your lab to ask itself the same question. [Link]
Friday, June 26, 2009
Michigan, whose state economy has been crippled by the outflow of jobs as a result of the auto industry collapse, may see a ray of light. GE has announced that they will be building a high-tech engineering/scientific plant in Van Buren Township, Michigan. Michigan is probably giving them huge tax incentives to build a plant there, and its probably going to be a good PR strategy for GE. My question is...could this be a trend for Biotechs? Will more Biotechs move from expensive states like California and Massachusetts for states like Michigan? Is this the beginning of a trend for Biotechs to move to cash strapped Midwestern states?
According to a new study which mapped out wind "hot spots", Tokyo, NYC, and Sydney could be the sites of some new high-altitude wind power generators. More and more buzz is surrounding the whole "High altitude wind farm" idea as more and more articles are being published about it. Does High altitude wind power have a chance? Is there a real business opportunity here, or is high-altitude wind power just a lot of eco-driven hype? [Article]
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Inc. Magazine has released a top 10 of "Best Industries for Starting a Business" and #3 on the list is Healthcare tech! The only problem is that Health-care tech companies are not only very expensive to start-up (Have you looked at the cost of scientific equipment these days?) but its hard to fill it with talent since less students are interested in science and engineering. On top of that, Healthcare tech companies usually have to be FDA approved to be considered reputable, which is usually a time/labor intensive and costly procedure. What do you think? [Link]
The New England Journal of Medicine has recently reported that use of PARP inhibitors with patients who have prostate cancer has proven to be extremely successful, with most of the 60 patients involved in the study experiencing tumor shrinkage, with few, if any, side effects. Its believed that PARP inhibitors may regulate the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, the 2 genes primarily responsible for breast cancer. So what do you guys think? 60 patients is an extremely small study, do PARP inhibitors have a future in cancer research, or is this study a fluke? Could PARP inhibitors be the next big thing for the pharmaceutical companies?[Article]
Could you benefit by moving to another location? Since scientists are usually under-paid and biotech is a huge sector in most cities (Austin, San Francisco, Boston) This salary calculator will tell you if you get more bang for your buck if decide to move to a different city. I was actually shocked to learn that living expenses in Boston, MA compared to Orange County, CA are actually 40% cheaper! Check it out, you might be surprised at what you find... [Link].
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Elsevier Health, makers of ridiculously huge & expensive (albeit very detailed and helpful) Pathology and Immunohistochemistry reference books, are offering 10-20% discounts off some of their books (if you order 2 or more) for a limited time! Just use Promotional code DM94861 (for people who attended USCAP). Offer applies until July 18th. [Link]
Bill Nye the science guy takes a second to explain how the new iPhone 3gs screen actually repels oils from your skin to make your iPhone look fingerprint free for longer. I know, i know, you guys are probably sick of all the iPhone 3GS articles, but this one has Bill Nye...and who doesnt love Bill Nye? [Article]
Well, it seems as though China power company GCL-Poly is attempting to overtake its US competitors in Solar power, to the tune of 3.4 billion dollars! The interesting thing about this deal is that GCL-Poly is buying Jiangsu Zhongneng PV Technology Development (yeah, try saying that 5 times fast). Why is this interesting? Because JZ PVT builds solar panels, and this deal will allow GCL-Poly to control the whole process of solar power manafacturing, from building solar panels to putting them into a functional power grid. Smart move, because not only will GCL-Poly be able to control their product, but it cuts down on costs for the company since they wont have to outsource the building of the panels to another company (and hopefully, means lower costs for the consumer). Lets see if US companies can play catch-up to GCL-Poly's power play.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Theres an article at CNN.com about how scientists have developed a synthetic tree that actually absorbs 1000x more carbon than an average tree. I read the article and it seems like an interesting idea, but with the cost that goes into developing and upkeeping one of these, my guess is you could probably plant over 10,000 real trees. So...yeah.
Posted by AS at 8:53 PM
America is lagging behind most of the industrialized western nations when it comes to science, but this documentary aims to cast a light on a couple of American high-schoolers who think they might have a shot at earning the pinnacle or nerd-om for high-schoolers; 1st prize of the Intel Science Talent Search. Sounds really interesting, if it becomes a hit maybe us sceintists can get some attention for once and get some of that federal money Obama's been throwing around lately!
Posted by AS at 7:26 PM
Car enthusiasts everywhere are probably excited to see that the Obama Administration has lent out $500 million for Tesla to develop its new Model S. My question to you guys is, do you feel that the Obama Administration is blurring the line between private industry and government, or is this a much necessary infusion of capital into the Car industry? Is this really a benefit for science (more eco-effecient cars on the road = less CO2) or is this a loan to save the auto-industry under the guise of environmental protection? [Article]
Posted by AS at 1:40 PM
Monday, June 22, 2009
...for the Sahara desert around 2020! This solar plant could potentially power all of Europe, if not the world. Whether it will be completed or not is another matter, but this raises a huge question...will projects like this help make solar energy as our primary source of fuel a reality, or is it just wishful thinking? How will these Solar plants be maintained (i.e. how are you going to find thousands of engineers in Africa to build/maintain this kind of project?). Maybe it will put the pressure on PG&E to finish its solar power plant in the Mojave. [Article]
Posted by AS at 9:53 PM
Check out this article which talks about how iron-beads covered with antibodies helped remove Candida albicans from a blood sample. Fungal infections are extremely difficult to treat with anti-fungals such as Amphotericin B, could this present a viable alternative to using pharmecueticals for fungal infections in the future?
This article attempts to solve the long-unanswered question of "Where do good ideas come from?" in a company. It talks about several companies that have sprung up, such as Innocentive, a website dedicated to helping companies find people who can solve problems. Interesting read, but im a big believer of the 80-20 rule, where 20% of the people in a company come up with 80% of the ideas.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I just got the July Issue of Wired in the mail (in newsstands in the next couple of weeks) and it talks about how the recent financial collapse will actually benefit us in the long run, and I honestly agree. Allow me to elaborate. The article mentions that ever since 2000, college graduates majoring in business typically earned more than the average engineering or science major. This trend (which began right before the dot.com bubble burst in 2000) led to a large amount of students applying for business and finance jobs after college. Not only was this huge influx of young business people driven by the now defunct financial institutions such as Lehman Brothers or Bear Sterns agressive recruiting practices, but also of the lure of easy money that these financial institutions offered (When your $50,000 in debt after college, more money is always nice). Now that these financial institutions are in the crapper, the article argues that more people (especially younger students out of college) will be intrigued to join more science/engineering/government firms, which will be better in the long run for not only our economy but America in general. Even President Obama acknowledged this fact in a speech at Georgetown University in April [link]. So what do you think? Will this collapse create a boom of scientists and engineers?[No article available...yet]
Posted by AS at 10:13 PM
Apparently an ex-army Doctor has been accused of accepting an $800,000 bribe from Medtronic (a medical device company) for fudging experimental data to help Medtronic sell one of their spine products. Interestingly enough, this is NOT the first time Medtronic has been accused of shady practice. There is even a whole website devoted to lawsuits for Medtronic products. My question is, how often do you think this kind of stuff happens amongst the scientific community that we havent found out about yet? Article
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Walmart? Yes, apparently Walmart is breaking into the health care industry (sort-of) and setting up small medical clinics inside some of their flagship stores! Apparently, instead of full size clinics, Walmart is renting out spaces to Nurse practioners and Physicians Assistants whilst offering Menu-style treatments for common ailments, ranging from $45 to $75 dollars. Is this the free-market solution to cheaper healthcare? Or is Walmart out to make a quick buck? I dont know if I should be scared by Walmart offering basic healthcare or...ok no im definetly scared! I cant wait until they start offering 2 for 1 colonoscopys! Article
So just in case you haven't heard, basically every Biotech company has been bought out by a larger Biotech. Ok lets see how many i can come up with off the top of my head...Roche bought Ventana which bought Spring Bioscience, Thermo merged with Fisher Scientific (and managed to buy Lab Vision somewhere along the line), Leica bought Novacastra, i mean, the list goes on. My question is, i just read a Wired article on"The New Economy" that is supposed to arrive after this recession is over, and it talks about how in the future the most profitable and successful companies will be those that ha ve a niche market. Does that mean these ultra-huge biotechs that are emerging are doomed? Is the era of corporate Pac-man over?
So anyone who works in a pathology lab or runs any IHC's knows that it pretty much takes the whole day for you to do an experiment. Most of the reagents take between 15-45 minutes to bind. However Celerus, a California start-up says that they can do IHC experiments using standard reagents in about 15 minutes. Im skeptical, but has anyone heard of this machine or used it? Last time i checked at the 2009 USCAP conference, I was told this machine costs around $40,000 (yikes). Sure its cheaper than buying a 140,000 Autostainer that coverslips for you, but its probably more cost effective to have a lab-rat manually stain your slides.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
So read this article and tell me what you think...Is the Internet really changing the way we think and process information? Is it for better or worse? Article
Posted by AS at 10:57 PM
The good people at IdeaPaint.com may have a solution! Apparently they produce a paint that allows you to turn ANY wall into a whiteboard! Pretty cool if you ask me. Check it out, it might be a great solution for your office, especially if some whiteboards are running for $20 and up just for a tiny one.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Recession be damned, it seems as though Medical device companies are STILL fetching top dollar. Inc.com (makers of Inc. magazine) recently did a study and of the 10 most expensive businesses to buy right now, and 2 of the 10 are medical device manufacturers. Both are in the top 3, with Electro-medical device suppliers selling for an average of $117 million bucks. Not too shabby. Article
Apparently, Fisher Scientific has a new lab start-up program for you hungry PhD Students who just got your grant for studying the feeding habits of the extinct Dodo (Or whatever it is you PhD people study :) ). My question is this...How much will i really save vs. shopping around? Fisher seems pretty vague on their website. Anyone ever try this program? Link